Intel X25-E Extreme SATA Solid-State Drive

Storage management tools

Silver Award:

Seanodes Inc. Exanodes Virtual Machine Edition

Virtual server technology remains wildly popular among IT organizations, but to take advantage of many of the advanced features, users need to have networked storage in place.

Seanodes Inc.'s Exanodes Virtual Machine Edition aims to remove the complexity and expense for cash-strapped companies with its innovative approach to creating shared storage, without requiring additional hardware or an external SAN or fabric.

Exanodes VM Edition software can turn the internal disks or direct-attached storage (DAS) of VMware Inc. ESX Servers into a virtual iSCSI SAN. That, in turn, makes it possible to take advantage of advanced VMware features, such as VMotion and Consolidated Backup, without having to invest in networked storage.

"Low cost/high reliability makes this a cost-effective solution," commented one judge. Another said the product "should be very attractive to the SMB market."

The Exanodes software creates a shared storage system using a server's typically underutilized hard disks. It uses the network interconnect as a data path and the nodes' memory and CPU to process storage access requests. The software integrates with server virtualization products to extend their capabilities to the internal disks of application servers, converting DAS into networked storage. The clustered parallel design and Redundant Array of Independent Nodes (RAIN) architecture help on the performance front. I/O processing is carried out simultaneously on a large number of nodes.

Seanodes notes that Exanodes provides file systems with volumes accessible in block mode, and the logical unit numbers (LUNs) generated by Exanodes have the same features as a LUN generated by a traditional storage array. The virtual array can be partitioned with partitions allocated to specific nodes or masked.

The product supports all types of storage devices accessible in block mode, such as SATA or SCSI disks, and software or hardware RAID. Users manage Exanodes Virtual Machine Edition through the command-line interface or a GUI-based console. Pricing for Exanodes VM Edition is $1,425 per ESX Server.

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